VanEck Bitcoin ETF Postponed for the Last Time to Nov 14th As Futures Get the Lead Role

VanEck is one of the dozen companies awaiting an answer from the SEC on approval of physically-backed Bitcoin ETF and has also filed for a futures-backed Bitcoin ETF, which is raising Grayscale’s hackles.


The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has, yet again, extended the review process of VanEck’s physically-backed Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) for the final time.

On Wednesday, the US securities regulator posted an extension notice, saying it is designating a longer period, additional 60 days, to review the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the VanEck Bitcoin Trust.

This puts the final deadline to get approval or disapproval on the application at November 14, 2021.

The application to list VanEck’s Bitcoin Trust was filed by Cboe BZX Exchange in March this year but continued to postpone making any decision. The commission can take up to 180 days from the filing date to announce its decision, with an additional 60 days permitted if it is deemed “appropriate.”

This time, the notice stated that the Commission finds it appropriate to allocate a longer period to issue its order on the application,

“so that it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change and the issues raised in the comment letters that have been submitted in connection therewith.”

VanEck is one of 13 companies awaiting an answer from the SEC on approval with other players, including Ark Invest, Valkyrie Investments, One River Asset Management, and SkyBridge Capital.

Coming Soon?

SEC Chair Gary Gensler recently said that the agency is more open to a futures-backed BItcoin ETF as it offers an additional level of security due to being governed by the CME. Also, futures requires investors to put down cash on margin to trade as collateral and, in the case of CME, a minimum of 35% of the amount. Gensler said earlier last month,

“I anticipate that there will be filings with regard to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) under the Investment Company Act (’40 Act). When combined with the other federal securities laws, the ’40 Act provides significant investor protections. Given these important protections, I look forward to the staff’s review of such filings, particularly if those are limited to these CME-traded Bitcoin futures.”

Since Gensler's comments, at least seven firms, including VanEck and Invesco, have applied to launch Bitcoin futures products.

Industry experts expect a Bitcoin futures ETF to receive SEC approval by October or November.

Grayscale Gives A Warning

This is now raising the largest digital asset manager Grayscale’s hackles. As we reported, CEO Michael Sonnenshein in an interview with CNBC this week, said,

“It would be shortsighted of the SEC to allow a futures-based product into the market before a spot product.”

Grayscale, which has a closed-ended Bitcoin Trust, is also looking to convert its product into an ETF. According to Sonnenshein,

“If a futures-based ETF comes to market without the ability for GBTC to convert to an ETF, it has the potential to harm investors who hold tens of billions of dollars’ worth of GBTC today outright, as well as the investors who have exposure to GBTC inside mutual funds, retirement accounts, and other places.”

While SEC has yet to approve a single crypto ETF in the past 8 years when the first BItcoin ETF was filed by the Winklevoss brothers, Canada has already approved a number of Bitcoin and Ether ETFs.

Canada and North America’s first ETF tracking Bitcoin, Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC), which has $747 million in assets, is now trailing its competitors 3iQ CoinShares Bitcoin ETF (BTCQ) that was launched two months later and has now amassed $1.2 billion (US$946 million) in assets.

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